Bihar MLA's murder lays bare BJP's double-talk

Party issued ticket to rapist MLAs wife

The top guns of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may be shouting from the rooftop for severe punishment to those who commit rape, but when it comes to their own fraternity, they look the other way.

As it happened in Bihar two years ago, when a school principal Rupam Pathak, fed up of being repeatedly raped allegedly by the ruling BJP legislator from Purnia, Raj Kishore Keshri, stabbed her tormentor to death on January 4, 2011.

Ironically, the victim is today languishing in jail after being sentenced life imprisonment. The Purnia-based local journalist Navlesh Pathak, who broke the story, was also arrested but after being set free, left the place for ever.

And the BJP, which never showed any sympathy with the victim or expressed remorse for the crime its four-term legislator committed, rewarded Keshri’s wife with a party ticket in the bypolls held later. To add insult to Rupam’s injury, the police, reportedly under pressure from the powers-that-be, failed to apprehend Bipin Rai, the private assistant of the slain MLA, who too was accused of raping the school principal.

“Vidhayak ji ne to ek baar kiya, lekin unke PA ne toh dus baar aisa kiya. (The MLA had raped me once, but his PA did it ten times),” Rupam reportedly told the police who interrogated her when she was recuperating at Katihar Medical College and Hospital (KMCH).

But Keshri being a ruling party MLA, the case took a U-turn when a special CBI court in Patna nailed Rupam and awarded her life imprisonment for killing the BJP MLA. The verdict was all the more shocking for the distraught school principal as the CBI had initially filed a chargesheet against her under IPC 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) on April 2, 2011.

Today, Rupam is behind bars, still waiting for justice from superior courts, while Keshri’s wife Kiran Devi is the BJP legislator from Purnia. There is no news about Keshri’s PA Bipin, the co-accused in the rape case, while the whistleblower Navlesh Pathak has left journalism and Purnia for good.

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